Sure this is a love story, but perhaps more down-to-earth than any that I have seen lately. I actually like Jennifer Aniston as Sue in this film, and the reason is that she doesn’t play that vulnerable role that we are so used to seeing: He’s Just Not That Into You (2009).
Steve Zahn as Mike is probably why I keep watching this. The I- like-your-butt awkwardness at the beginning, I don’t know whether to laugh or cringe, and with his teenager-like naïveté; he is in his 20’s working for his parents, who own a motel. Shall we say he has a crush on Sue just because, and Sue is our social consciousness: logical, appropriate, and rational. BTW, Sue is a mediocre sales-person of corporate arts, who travels and happens to stay in Mike’s parents motel.
Although the story is about Mike’s relentless efforts to have Sue falling in love with him, it is a bit more than that cause it is really about knowing what you really want and not giving in or up.
Along the way, there is the multi-millionaire, Jango(Woody Harrelson), who was Sue’s ex-boyfriend, and Al (James Hiroyuki Liao), who basically saves Mike’s ass when he was down and out in Washington state looking for Sue. Mike’s mom is Trish (Margo Martindale), who knows well that Mike is a challenged son with few goals, yet she believes that one day he will fly away to be his own man. Father is a war-veteran, Jerry (Fred Ward), who bought the motel after returning from the Vietnam war.
Kudo to Steve Zahn (I read that he has a Hon. PhD in Fine Arts),who makes this film work on so many levels. He may play dumb, but perhaps, he is the most intelligent among all the others in this film, and he can be quite daring too! At the end of the day, Mike does what Mike wants! Honestly, how many of us can really own that?!
So once again, don’t judge the book by its cover, this is quite a nice well thought-out film afterall, and funny too. (As they say in the cooking business, if you can make a dish that accentuates bitterness, sweetness, saltiness, and spiciness, then you must have arrived!) So to Director Stephen Belber, that is a really good film.
WATCH (on your second date)!